Every year as a mother and business owner I make some parenting resolutions that I wish I would keep: Be the out-of-this-world mum that always has snacks on hand. Arrive everywhere early, with flawless hair and my impeccably well-behaved children smiling next to me. Basically, be Beyonce. I’d love to reach my goals but let’s be fair, I ain’t Bae.
So this year I’ve made a big decision. I’m over it. I am so over the idea of having to be the “perfect” mum that crushes it at every school event. (Who’s with me?!) But here’s the thing: Even though I’m no longer striving for perfection, I’m still going to try my darnedest to improve. So, here are the (realistic) parenting resolutions I’m on track with this year…
1. I won’t let chaos get me down. Having three kids under the age of 10 is stressful. There’s so much to remember: Paperwork — both the kind that accumulates in massive piles during the first couple of weeks BTS and the permission slips and sign-up forms that I find shoved down deep in backpacks throughout the year. Excursions and performances. Fundraising and carnivals. Drop-offs and picks-ups and days where they get out an hour early and if my eldest child, Jackson, (God bless him!) didn’t remind me I’d likely forget every single one. What stresses me out the most is the idea that the other mums (at school or out there in the wild world) are somehow way better at this than I am. Organising my boys’ lives, running my own company, and balancing all of the other relationships in my life – all at the same time – can feel chaotic. But I’m going to do my best to roll with it all and make it work.
2. I will wake up early. Some people think my early morning wake-ups are kind of crazy, since I’m usually up by 6 am at the latest. Here’s the thing though: If I don’t wake up before everyone else, then I wake up to craziness, and I carry that with me throughout the day. Yes, waking up early was important before I had kids, but now it’s completely necessary. I need that peaceful time to get myself organised before my day starts. Time management for working mums is all about finding extra time, and that might mean you sacrifice a little sleep. Use the extra hour to enjoy your coffee, pray, pack the lunches and backpacks and, oh yeah, work on your daily list (see #3).
3. I will make a list. I’m the queen of the list! I’m a former party planner, and since becoming a mum, I’ve really put my list making skills to good use. I’m constantly making them and then revising them inside my notebook. It’s like my schedule, and I use the same one for both work and home so, “Get black t-shirt for Jackson’s class project,” is on the same list as, “Finish organising your fridge post.” That way nothing (okay, almost nothing) falls through the cracks.
4. I will prep healthy lunches for my boys. On Sundays, I’m all about meal prep; this tradition has helped me so much (especially having three boys), and I vow to continue it. On the weekend, I will prep those sandwiches and add a love note from mum. I also do myself a favour and have on hand some easy healthy items that I can pop in their lunches. Then in the morning I can quickly assemble a lunch by throwing all of the ready-made food into a lunch sack. Meal prep leads to easier mornings and better overall nutrition for my kids.
5. I will schedule “Me Time.” When I want to get in a morning workout? I will put it in my calendar. When I want to eat tapas and drink sauv blanc with my girls? I will put it in my calendar. When I need my hair done, nails done, car washed? I. Will. Put. It. In. My. Calendar. See, my ability to do anything spontaneously went out the window about 10 years ago. If I waited for the inspiration and a magical 45-minute window of free time before getting a nail appointment, I would never, ever get my nails done. Anything involving my husband, Dave, (like a date or a party) will get sent to him as an event, so it’s on his Google calendar as well. I know I’m less likely to cancel something (like a workout) if I’ve scheduled out the time for it.
6. I will ask for help before I get overwhelmed. You cannot do this alone – and, sister, there’s no earthly reason for you to attempt it! So call in reinforcements. My big boys (ages 10 and 8) make their bed and clean their room every single day of their lives. My husband is the king of fix-it projects, homework, and bedtime routines. When I’m overwhelmed I ask for help, but the key is to lean on others, so you never feel overwhelmed in the first place.
7. I will stop beating myself up about volunteering in the classroom. So I might not volunteer in the classroom this year, but count me in for store-bought goodies at the class parties. And I might not make it to every school excursion, because — I know, I’m the jerk-of-all-jerks — I honestly hate chaperoning the class. If a teacher needs help with the school musical, however, that would make my heart sing. The other mums will parent however they like and I’ll do the same.
8. I will stop being so hard on myself. Instead, I’ll focus on the good work we are doing, the results of which are evident in the awesome little people we’re raising. What if we all went into this new year with the intention to just gracefully do our best? Meaning, we’re going to do our level-best to turn in every slip on time and never forget wacky hair Wednesday. But we’re also wise enough to understand that we’re going to forget something or not be able to volunteer, or not be able to compete with Michael’s mum and her organic, customisable gingerbread kit for every member of the class, and that’s OK. Michael’s mum is awesome at her thing, and you and me? We’re awesome at ours.
Image: The Chic Site by Rachel Hollis